The Voice season 18 Battle Rounds conclude tonight with returning coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend. New coach Nick Jonas joins the panel. Carson Daly returns as host. We’ll be live blogging all the Battle performances right here.
As always, each coach has brought a celebrity mentor on board to help get their teams ready for battle. Nick Jonas will team up with his brothers Joe Jonas and Kevin Jonas. Kelly Clarkson will join forces with pop star Dua Lipa, John Legend and UK R&B singer Ella Mai will work alongside each other, and Blake Shelton will enlist the help of Bebe Rexha. The crossover country singer served as a “Fifth Coach” on The Voice season 16 digital “Comeback Stage” series in 2019.
As far as the round’s format is concerned, In the upcoming Battles, each coach gets a save and a steal. The four saves will perform in a four way knockout, and America will choose the winner.
Arei Moon vs Samuel Wilco – Missing You by John Waite – Team Nick Jonas – He turned quick for Arei. Sam is a military guy. It’s his 40th birthday. Nick brought a cake! Sam’s kids are big Jonas Brothers fans. Nick blocked Kelly to get Arei (she sang Miss Independent!) Her husband is supporting her pursuit of music. This is such an odd song choice. I thought maybe Nick picked the Diana Ross song. But then I thought no, he probably knows the Waite song. Joe suggests raising it a key. “That’s going to be a challenge,” says Arei. Nick gives them posture pointers to help them hit those high notes. Nick continues to be an excellent coach, helping them to shape the entire performance.
Before the performance starts, Blake serenades Nick with his version of “Missing You.” Actually, this song choice is so out of the box for both of them, it totally works. “Missing You” is one of my 80s guilty pleasures. Heh. Sam’s adlibs are a little sloppy. But Arei is a beautiful singer. I’d pick her! The harmonies here are gorgeous. Kelly turned for both. She calls it an even match. Blake also thinks it’s an even match. John notes the joy in the performance. He’d give a slight edge to Arei. Nick chooses Arei.
Nick picks Arei. Samuel is Eliminated.
Megan Danielle vs Samantha Howell – Team Kelly Clarkson – Top of the World by Patty Griffin – Megan sings a mixture of R&B and country. Samantha is a pop country singer. Kelly blocked Blake, to get her. But Kelly was Samantha’s first choice to begin with. Megan is a senior in high school. Megan isn’t as polished as Samantha, says Kelly, but they both bring strengths. Dua and Kelly both give the singers solid suggestions. They BOTH sound so good and pure in rehearsal. Megan connects to so much of the song. Her father left the family, she explains, and he’s lived to regret it.
Megan has a raw quality that’s appealing, but Samantha has a beautiful tone and exquisite phrasing. She’s a more mature singer. But there’s something about Megan that’s compelling. I can’t pick a winner. Blake calls Megan’s voice “shocking” and “unbelievable.” He’s sorry he didn’t turn for her. “Kelly stole my dreams,” Blake says to Samantha. He thought her pitch was under. He’d go with Megan. Kelly calls Megan a fighter. In the end, she chooses Megan, and then saves Samantha. Good choice. It would have been a shame to lose Samantha.
Kelly picks Megan, and SAVES Samantha!
John is still pimping a Lays contest that gives away tickets to a live show THAT AIN’T HAPPENING ANY TIME SOON.
Jon Mullins vs Tod Tilghman – Ghost in this House by Alison Krauss – Team Blake Shelton – Todd, a father of eight, only sings at church. Jon nursed his wife back from a nasty head injury. The song obviously means a lot to Blake, but I’m not sure why he thinks it would be so out of either singer’s wheelhouse. Blake and Bebe compliment Jon’s storytelling abilities. But she notes Jon ran out of breath. She gives him some tips. Blake reminds Tod not to smile so much–the song is sad. Bebe and Blake suggest the two not step over each other. If they give each other space, it will be the performance of the night, they say.
Tod’s raspy voice reminds me a little of Danny Gokey, from American Idol season 8. Jon has the bigger, rounder, more beautiful tone. Choosing between the two singers, I’d pick Jon. John loved the emotion and connection. Jon was a one chair turn, while Tod turned four. John is leaning toward Jon. Nick agrees with John. He’d pick Jon. Kelly calls the battle a draw. Blake picks Tod, Nick allows Jon to give his spiel before stealing him.
Blake Picks Tod, Nick Steals Jon.
Brittney Allen vs Zan Fiskum – Closer to Fine by Indigo Girls – Team John Legend – Zan and her family volunteered at a community theater growing up. She started gigging at 16. She writes and performs music to release online. Zan is nervous to compete with Brittney’s big voice. John advises Zan not to squeeze her vowels. Brittney struggles with stage fright. An only child, her mother passed after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
What’s great about the original version of this song, is the Indigo Girls straightforward passion. I don’t like the way BOTH singers are ornamenting the melody. I do not like or want. Saying that, Brittney is probably the better singer. She has a huge voice. Nick loved the arrangement, and how both allowed the other to shine. Kelly calls it effortless and beautiful. Kelly and Nick both wish they had a steal. Blake thinks Zan’s performance, was better, technically. John picks Zan. He compares her to his last winner, Maelyn Jarmon. Of course, Blake holds on to his steal. He’s going to grab either Cedrice or Thunderstorm at the end of the episode.
John picks Zan Brittney is eliminated.
Mandi Thomas vs Sara Collins – My Baby Loves Me by Martina McBride – Team Kelly Clarkson – Mandi sang classical opera in the blinds. Kelly was the only one to hit her button. She plays in a cover band back in Nashville. Sara did musical theater in middle school. She has opened for popular artists in the past few years. It’s interesting that Mandi chose to audition with opera, because she can sing other genres. Kelly noted pitch problems. She gives them both notes on how to not run out of breath.
This battle is pretty much a draw, I think. While Mandi is obviously versatile and well trained, Sara sounds more authentically country to me. If Kelly is looking for a versatile vocalist, she’ll pick Mandi. If she wants another country singer on her team, she’ll go with Sara. Blake noted some of Sara’s off-key notes. He’d pick Mandi, impressed with her ability to switch genres. John and Nick agrees with me–Sara sounds more like a country singer. Kelly picks Mandi. Not a surprise. She’s been crowing about her versatility all along, just like herself!
Kelly picks Mandi, Sara is Eliminated
- Jules vs Tayler Green – Water Under the Bridge by Adele – Team Kelly Clarkson – Kelly picks Tayler
- Jacob Miller vs Kevin Farris – Lights Up by Harry Styles – Team Nick Jonas – Nick picks Jacob
Cedrice vs Thunderstorm Artis – Stay by Rihanna ft Mikky Ekko – Team John Legend – We previewed this performance HERE. Thunderstorm grew up in Hawaii in a big family. He moved to Nashville last year. He was a 4 chair turn. Cedrice was the last audition and the last member on John’s team. She was diagnosed with alopecia at a young age and grew up in a Filipino household. Ella and John want more dynamics from Thunderstorm. John suggests that Cedric stick with the original melody, at least at first. There was so little advice to give these two fine singers, there was time for some career advice!
The two best and most original singers in this competition face off against each other. That’s something. No wonder Blake held on to his steal. We could be looking at the winner and runner up right here. Nick calls the battle “out of this world.” He’s impressed the way the two sold it. But Nick would pick Thunderstorm. Kelly calls Cedrice a “goddess.” She loves Thunderstorm and thinks he’s more versatile in a competition. Blake calls Cedrice “magical.” Blake believes Thunderstorm will dominate and would pick him. John picks Thunderstorm! I thought he’d pick Cedrice, to be honest. And of course, BLAKE STEALS CEDRICE. Blake believes she’s on a different plane. He knows they are an odd pairing, but he believes it can make for some great moments.
John picks Thunderstorm, Blake STEALS Cedrice
Next week the Knockouts begin with legendary singer/songwriter James Taylor as Mega Mentor. Hey. Did I ever tell ya the story of running into James in the dairy section of my local Whole Foods? He was picking up some eggs! Anywho. I decided not to bother him.